Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd was pictured smiling as he handed himself over to police in Georgia today, ten months after he fled justice back in Britain.
Shepherd, 31, sported a new beard and shaven head as he walked into a police station, telling reporters that he hoped his arrest would allow everyone to ‘move on’.
Shepherd killed Charlotte Brown when he drunkenly flipped his speedboat on the Thames while trying to impress her on a first date in 2015.
It is unclear if Shepherd will face extra time for fleeing, though most offenders who abscond from prison are given heftier sentences after being recaptured.
Ms Brown’s father Graham revealed that he shed a tear as he celebrated the news, posting on Facebook that ‘justice is so close’.
Jack Shepherd, 31, sported a new beard as he handed himself over to police in Georgia on Wednesday, ten months after he fled the UK to avoid justice for killing Charlotte Brown
Shepherd grinned as he told reporters he hoped his arrest would help everyone ‘move on’, and confirmed that he plans to appeal his six-year sentence once he arrives in the UK
Other family members said they were ‘overwhelmed’ and hoped for a swift extradition to the UK so Shepherd could finally face justice.
Speaking to ITV News, Graham said: ‘Just so many emotions. We’ve been on such a journey to get here, just absolute relief that he’s been found and we’re close to getting justice for Charlotte. It made me cry.’
Shepherd made a mockery of justice by taking public money to fund an appeal against his six-year prison sentence while on the run.
Earlier this month, the Daily Mail offered a £25,000 reward to bring Shepherd to justice.
It is understood that handed himself in to Georgian police after being located in the country by TV channel Rustavi-2.
He spoke exclusively to the channel and made clear he intended to appeal his manslaughter conviction.
Charlotte died after Shepherd flipped a speedboat the pair were riding along the Thames while he drunkenly showed off on their first date
The channel claimed it had found the fugitive ahead of Georgian police who have been hunting him after a request from Britain via Interpol.
He told Georgian reporters: ‘I hope that the truth will be established and that everyone will be able to move on.’
Shepherd, from Exeter, was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence in his absence in July 2018 over the death of Miss Brown in December 2015, who he took on a date while engaged to his now-wife.
He has yet to serve a single day of his six-year term, but has received almost £100,000 in legal aid and was communicating with his legal team from his hideaway as they prepare his appeal.
A Mail investigation has pieced together how he fled the UK in March after being arrested for an alleged hotel assault while on bail awaiting the speedboat trial.
He flew to Turkey and from there to Georgia, arriving in Tblisi on March 21. Shepherd’s wife told detectives he had gone to Georgia, but blunders meant British police only made the request for help there on Monday last week.
Records show his UK passport has not been used since.
Ms Brown’s family met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss the case on Tuesday in light of the new evidence, and were assured that police would ‘strain every sinew’ in order to catch him.
Mr Javid got involved after it was revealed that the Met were tipped off six months ago that Shepherd was in Georgia, but apparently did not act on the information.
Graham Brown, Charlotte’s father (pictured), wrote that ‘justice is so close’ on Facebook as news of Shepherd’s arrest spread
Shepherd was arrested after the speedboat crash (mugshot pictured) but freed on bail by a judge, when he fled to Georgia and never returned
Police in the former Soviet republic said they had invited their British counterparts to belatedly join the hunt for Shepherd, who is believed to have entered the country last March.
Authorities said they had not even been asked to look for Shepherd until last week, when the Metropolitan Police made a request through Interpol.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said on Wednesday: ‘We have received information from the National Crime Agency that Jack Shepherd, who is wanted on an international arrest warrant, is in the custody of police in Georgia.
‘His identity has yet to be officially confirmed. However, if the man is confirmed as Shepherd, extradition proceedings will begin immediately.
‘Shepherd was sentenced in his absence to six years’ imprisonment in July after he was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of Charlotte Brown in the River Thames in 2015.’
Shepherd was driving his boat past the Houses of Parliament when he handed the controls to Ms Brown, who hit a submerged log and capsized, throwing the pair into the water
Shepherd’s arrest comes after Ms Brown’s family (right) met Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday, who assured them police would ‘strain every sinew’ to find him
Shepherd met Ms Brown on dating website OKCupid before the pair agreed to go on a date to the Shard on December 8, 2015.
At the end of the date, and having drunk champagne, Shepherd tried to impress Ms Brown by taking her for a ride on his speedboat.
As the pair passed the Houses of Parliament, Shepherd handed Ms Brown the controls and she hit a submerged log, causing the boat to capsize.
The pair were thrown into the frigid water, and Shepherd was rescued after being found clinging to the boat’s hull.
Ms Brown’s body was pulled unconscious from the water and she later died.
Prosecutors described it as ‘sheer madness’ to take a boat out that night, while describing a litany of safety failings – including life jackets being tucked away and faulty steering.
Local TV images of Jack Shepherd as he arrives at a TV station before going to the police on Wednesday
Shepherd gave an exclusive interview to Georgian news channel Rustavi 2 in which he said he plans to appeal his conviction for manslaughter
Earlier this month, the Daily Mail offered a £25,000 reward to bring Shepherd to justice